1900s >> 1904 >> no-1-september-1904

Capitalist Morality and Cheap Labour

Is has been sometimes alleged by ignorant or interested persons that Socialism would promote immorality, and particularly that it would “break up the family !” Certain admissions made by the learned upholders of Capitalism at the recent meeting of the Economic Section of the British Association throw a really brilliant light upon the canting hypocrisy of these contentions. The fact is Capitalism promotes and forces what is termed “immorality” upon large sections of the people, and breaks up the family –even destroying the most natural and common human affections.

Mrs. Bosanquet (author of ” The Strength of the People “) has had the impudence more than once to attack, without comprehending, Socialist science. In the course of a paper read by her at this meeting, she asserted that—

“The disintegration of family life in town resulted in an alarming increase of unstable families, who quickly lost due sense of home affections and responsibilities, and did not earn so much where families were stable.”

So here is a plain admission from a defender more of capitalistic robberv of the workers, that CAPITALISM destroys the family. How anxious this goody-goody capitalist is to preserve the family! And notice what good capitalist reason she has for it! The sting of this quotation is, scorpion-like, in the tail: stable families earn less than unstable disintegrated families. So the capitalist professes anxiety to preserve the family—in the hope of cheaper labour!

Another speaker asserted that “where family life is preserved, morality is very high.” And he continued :

“Our infant mortality is now greater than in India and Japan, and the employment of married women in factories is an appreciable cause.”

What a condemnation of the infamous capitalist system. The employment of married women in factories certainly tends to break up the family, and this capitalist advocate admits that it is responsible for the wholesale slaughter of innocent infants. But the labour of married women is cheap, and men, women, and children alike must be sacrificed in order that Capital— “that monster without a heart “—may be satisfied. Only by the Social Revolution can this system be ended. Palliation is impossible and absurd. Leave it to capitalists to cant about morality, which they neither understand nor care for, and to tinker with the effects of their villainous system. It is for the wording-class to organise for its complete overthrow.

H. J. HAWKINS.

(Socialist Standard , September 1904)